Asthma Action Plan: After Your Child's Visit

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Your Care Instructions

Picture of girl using asthma inhaler

An asthma action plan is based on peak flow and asthma symptoms. Sorting symptoms and peak flow into red, yellow, and green "zones" can help you know how bad your child's asthma is and what actions you should take. Work with the doctor to make the plan. An action plan may include:

  • The peak flow readings and symptoms for each zone.
  • What medicines your child should take in each zone.
  • When to call a doctor.
  • A list of emergency contact numbers.
  • A list of your child's asthma triggers.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Make sure your child takes his or her daily medicines to help minimize long-term damage and avoid asthma attacks.
  • Check your child's peak flow as often as your doctor suggests. This is the best way to know how well the lungs are working.
  • Check the action plan to see what zone your child is in.
    • If your child is in the green zone, he or she should keep taking daily asthma medicines as prescribed.
    • If your child is in the yellow zone, he or she may be having or will soon have an asthma attack. There may not be any symptoms, but your child's lungs are not working as well as they should. Make sure your child takes the medicines listed in the action plan. If your child stays in the yellow zone, your doctor may need to increase the dose or add a medicine.
    • If your child is in the red zone, follow the action plan. If symptoms or peak flow don't improve soon, your child may need to go to the emergency room or be admitted to the hospital.
  • Use an asthma diary. Write down your child's peak flow readings in the asthma diary. If your child has an attack, write down what caused it (if you know), the symptoms, and what medicine your child took.
  • Make sure you know how and when to call your doctor or nurse call line or go to the hospital.
  • Take both the asthma action plan and the asthma diary-along with the peak flow meter and medicines-when you take your child to the doctor. Tell the doctor if your child is having trouble following the action plan.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has severe trouble breathing. Signs may include the chest sinking in, using belly muscles to breathe, or nostrils flaring while your child is struggling to breathe.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has an asthma attack and does not get better after you use the action plan.
  • Your child coughs up yellow, dark brown, or bloody mucus (sputum).

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child's wheezing and coughing get worse.
  • Your child needs quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week (unless it is just for exercise).
  • Your child has any new symptoms, such as a fever.

Where can you learn more?

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Current as of: March 25, 2017